The total salary for the 10 mayoral committee members is just over R10.5m, while total remuneration for all 217 councillors is R132m. Picture: Jason Felix/Cape Argus
Cape Town - They receive cellphone allowances, data bundles, travel allowances, official accommodation (for mayors) with furniture and fittings as well as bodyguards, on top of a hefty salary. With an economy expected to grow by around 1.8%, the country’s councillors will draw a 4% salary increase this year.

This comes after Co-operative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize determined the upper limits of the salaries, allowances and benefits of the different members of municipal councils following deliberations with the MECs.

The notice states that councils should obtain permission from the MEC for local government prior to implementation of the provisions of the notice.

This will be after a council took a resolution, supported by a majority of councillors, for the municipality to pay councillors within different grades of remuneration.

Accordingly, full-time councillors serving as mayors in metro municipalities will pocket R1.35million in annual remuneration packages, speakers and deputy mayors will receive R1.09m, and members of the executive committee, whips or chairpersons of sub-councils, R1.02m.

Councillors elected to a district municipality will be entitled to a sitting allowance amounting to R1020 regardless of the district council or committee meetings on a specific day, the notice reads.

Those councillors serving on a structure of the South African Local Government Association will be entitled to the same R1060 allowance.

Part-time councillors who uses privately-owned transport for official duties will be reimbursed for kilometres travelled.

Those using municipal vehicles will not be reimbursed.

Stop Coct founder Sandra Dickson said municipalities keep their salary increases low, but up the perks.

“So what is the point of having lower salary increases, but they have all the perks?. Things like insurance can be paid for councillors themselves. I mean, everyone else pays for their home and car insurance, why can’t they do the same? We do not need to pay these high salaries for doing very little, in my opinion.”

Greater Cape Civic Alliance secretary Philip Bam said councillors’ workload does not match their salaries.

“I understand a cellphone allowance is needed for the councillors because they need be available almost all the time. But most councillors are not available to their constituents. How do they justify the salary increases and all the other perks because most people don’t even know their councillors?”

A municipality may provide office space, business cards, letter cards and diaries, among other things. They may also be allocated a laptop or tablet while those visually impaired may receive a Braille reader.

Full-time mayors may be allocated official accommodation, fittings and furniture. A mayor or speaker may not have more than two bodyguards.

Acting chief finance officer Louise Muller said in the proposal document the city would obtain special risk cover for councillors’ vehicles which is limited to a value of R750000 and property limited to a value of R1.5million, as prescribed by government.

Life and disability cover is limited to two times the total remuneration package of each councillor.

Transport allowances will be structured per individual councillor.

According to the latest 2018/19 figures, the annual salary for the city’s speaker is R1.1m, R1.05m for the chief whip; R1.3m for the mayor, and the deputy mayor receives R1.1m.

The total salary for the 10 mayoral committee members is just over R10.5m, while total remuneration for all 217 councillors is R132m.

The city needs R5.5m to make provision for the 4% increase which will be applied retrospectively from July 1, 2018.

This 4% increase was supported by deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

@JasonFelix

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Cape Argus